Here you can see the differences between the Mac's Dock (on top) and Windows Task Bar.
Equivalent to Windows' Control Panel, users depend upon Mac OS X's System Preferences application to change desktop configuration settings.
System Preferences is accessed most often by clicking its icon from the Mac toolbar.
User accounts are created using the Mac's Accounts app, whereas Windows administrators rely upon User Accounts when creating workgroup accounts.
The Macintosh's Accounts application is accessed from the System Preferences menu, while Windows users reach User Accounts within the Control Panel.
Trash vs. Recycle Bin
Discarded files live in the Mac's Trash, while Windows users are familiar with the Recycle Bin.
Finder vs. Windows Explorer
Mac OS X users depend on the Finder (shown on top) to locate files and folders. Windows users, meanwhile, are accustomed to navigating their hard disks using My Computer and Windows Explorer, shown here on the bottom.
Network utility vs. My Network Places
The Mac's Network utility displays network resources and nearby computers similar to the way Windows' My Network Places (shown on the bottom) does.
Macintosh OS X's Network application (displayed on top) enables configuring multiple network connections from the same menu. Windows' Network Connections menu, meanwhile, displays icons for each of a system's network interfaces.
Network settings are configured using the Mac's Network settings. Using the Show drop-down box, settings can be configured for all of a system's interfaces. Windows network settings, meanwhile, are configured by right-clicking a network interface and selecting its Properties menu.
Appearance vs. Display properties
A Macintosh system's interface is configured using the Appearance applet. Windows, meanwhile, enables configuring a host of display and appearance options using Display Properties (reached by right-clicking the Windows desktop and selecting Properties).
Sound configuration is quite similar, whether one is using a Macintosh system or Windows PC. The Mac's Sound applet is used to configure specific alert sounds and volume, whereas Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties (reached from Control Panel) presents a wide range of audio and video options.
Security applets play a critical role in protecting both Macintosh and Windows systems. Mac OS X users access the Security menu from System Preferences. Among other security options they can set are disabling automatic logins, requiring passwords to unlock security preferences and more.
Windows users, meanwhile, can enable and configure the Windows Firewall, Automatic Updates, Virus Protection and more using the Windows Security Center introduced with Service Pack 2.
Safari vs. Internet Explorer
Safari, shown here on top, is the default Macintosh Internet browser. It's simple, straightforward interface places a priority on displaying Web content.
The most current iteration of Internet Explorer for Windows XP is the version 7 beta, shown here on the bottom. IE's latest incarnation also places a premium on minimizing distractions and toolbars in favor of more real estate for Web content.
Terminal vs. Command Prompt
The Mac equivalent of Windows Command Prompt is Terminal. Terminal, shown here on top, is accessed from within the Utilities folder.
A Windows command prompt can be called by clicking Start | Selecting Run, typing run and pressing Enter.
Both Terminal and Command Prompt offer access to a wide range of command line tools.
Mac OS X vs. Windows XP boot screens
View similarities and differences between the Mac OS X and Windows XP Professional interfaces side-by-side.
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By Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...